The holiday rush is about to set in. Along with waiting in line to buy gifts at stores, the lines can be even longer at the post office as gift givers mail cards and packages to friends and family across the county and world.
The US Postal Service is anticipating this will be its biggest holiday season in its 237-year history. The postal service expects it will deliver 365 million packages this holiday season—a 20 percent increase over 2011, according to the USPS.
The busiest mailing day for holiday cards and packages will be Dec. 17, when more than 655 million pieces of mail are expected to be processed—compared with 538 million on an average day, the USPS said. The busiest delivery day for letters will be Dec. 19, and the busiest day for packages will be Dec. 20.
The USPS hopes customers will beat the holiday rush and is sharing key shipping dates to ensure items arrive on time.
Mail by dates:
- Nov. 14 APO/FPO Parcel Post Military Deadline
- Dec. 3 Priority Mail International
- Dec. 10 Priority Mail Military
- Dec. 11 Express Mail International
- Dec. 14 Parcel Post
- Dec. 17 Global Express Guaranteed
- Dec. 20 First-Class Mail
- Dec. 21 Priority Mail
- Dec. 22 Express Mail
The USPS offers these tips for holiday mailing and shipping
- Confirm addresses. Print addresses clearly and in all CAPS and be sure to include all address elements — apartment numbers, suite numbers and directional information for streets. For example: 123 S Main St. or 12456 Elm St. N. Include both “to” and “from” information on packages — and only on one side. Never guess a ZIP Code. Visit usps.com to find all ZIP codes.
- Choose the right box. Select a box that is strong enough to protect the contents. Leave space for cushioning inside. Do not reuse mailing boxes — they weaken in the shipping process. Customers can purchase ReadyPost boxes at a local Post Office or at the Postal Store on usps.com. Express Mail and Priority Mail boxes, envelopes and tubes are free.
- Pack delicately. Cushion contents with shredded or rolled newspaper, bubble wrap or foam peanuts. Plain air-popped popcorn also is good for cushioning — it’s inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Pack contents tightly to avoid shifting during transit. Always use tape that is designed for shipping, such as pressure-sensitive tape, nylon-reinforced craft paper tape or glass-reinforced pressure-sensitive tape. Do not use wrapping paper, string, masking tape, duct tape or cellophane tape.